31st Mar 2022 @ 7:26 pm

When you set up a company, you’ll need a name that identifies you, and you’ll need to protect that name from anyone who tries to take advantage. That’s why you should register your trade name, advises Erardo Ferrer of Lanzarote Abogados.

First published on April 1st in the April edition of the Gazette.

Your trade name is the distinctive symbol that identifies your company in the commercial world and serves to distinguish it from other companies that carry out identical or similar activities.

The trademark and the trade name do not have to be the same as the company’s corporate name.

Registering your tradename or trademark is important because it means that no one else can pass their products or services on as yours, or appropriate the goodwill and prestige that your business has acquired. Once registered, you have full legal protection against other persons or companies imitating your trademark or trade name.

In practice, applications take between 6 and 12 months to be resolved, from the moment they are received by the SPTO (Spanish Patent and Trademark Office), depending on whether or not they are subject to objections from other companies or suspension for inappropriate content.

For example, if you try to register your business under the name of Canary Services, an existing company known as Canary Client Services may lodge a successful objection.

Unfortunate trade names

Foreign companies often choose Spanish-sounding names because the language sounds glamorous and exotic. But it doesn’t always end up well.

The Mazada Laputa never went on sale in Spain, but its name, which means “the prostitute” in Spanish, caused much hilarity among US Hispanics. The small, green Nissan Moco (“snot” or ”bogey” in Spanish) also failed to reach the market here.

Perhaps most famous is the Mitsubishi Pajero, named after the pampas cat of South America. Unfortunately, this meaning is not the first that comes to mind to most Spanish speakers, to whom “pajero” means “wanker”. The car was marketed as the Montero in Spanish-speaking countries.

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